Processed our first batch of broilers today. The good, bad and the ugly....... LOL

Blind Squirrel Farms

In the Brooder
Nov 28, 2020
We butchered 34 broilers today at 53 days old. They were raised in a brooder for 3.5 weeks and then finished on pasture in a chicken tractor. They were a mixed batch (roosters & chickens) from Murray McMurray Hatchery. They were fed a high quality Natural Feed that incorporates Fertrell Nutribalancer and Redmond Salt.
Some of the batch grew huge and about 15% were really small. They all looked healthy.

The crew was just my Wife and I and we setup, butchered and cleaned up in a little over 6 hours. The operation got considerably smoother (and faster) as we went along. Once butchered we placed the birds in an ice chest with icy water to cool them down. After they stayed in that a couple of hours we moved them to another ice chest and just layered them in ice. They are still on ice and we will bag them tomorrow around lunch time.

Question: We took one of the birds in the house and cooked it tonight (broiled it in the oven for a little while and then finished by baking it). The flavor was awesome. I had forgotten what non-store bought chickens tasted like. Such a huge difference. However, this bird was "Capital T" - TUFF. The texture was very disappointing. Very tough. Looking for some ideas on what may have happened. Appreciate any help you folks can give.

Rigor sets in quick on small animals. To cook a bird for dinner that is walking around that day you have to dispatch, process and put in the oven in less than an hour. I'd try to get that under 1/2 an hour. Have your oven pre heated. Otherwise you must allow rigor to pass which will take minimum 24 hours on a small tender bird and longer than three days on a tough old cock bird setting in a fridge.
would love to see pics of finished product and weights?

last weekend we processed 5 turkeys and 9 chickens started at 9 and walked in the house to warm up by 1... one 47.5 pound dressed turkey one 40pound and I was too lazy to weight the other 3 but one was much smaller around 7 pounds??? and the other 2 were probably 30 pounds plus. 4 of the chickens were cornish cross but here at 6000 feet we have to do a restricted feed diet so it takes 8-10 weeks to have a 5-6.5 pound cx and ours dress out around 3.5-5 pounds. the last 5 were roosters and they were between 6 months and 2 years dressed out 3.5-5 pounds mostly mutts...

congrats on your meat making!
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